Steps Recovery Centers

Prescription Drug Addiction



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Steps Recovery Center recognizes how vital the mind, body, and spirit are in their connection to the whole person. We take a holistic approach to treating those with prescription drug addiction and relatable disorders that may contribute to their substance abuse; this includes treating the whole person, and find that it tends to be more successful, especially since addiction affects every aspect of a person’s life. With a customized and individualized program, a holistic approach just makes sense. It affords an opportunity to meet the patient’s physical and psychological needs and allows them to engage physically, emotionally, and mentally

Symptoms of Prescription Drug Abuse

People who depend on prescription drugs have a psychological need or craving for the medication that, in return, causes adverse effects. To ensure they can get their “fix,” addicts will typically lie about needing them even when their pain is gone. You will notice behavior changes that include a free-falling pattern in social interactions and recreational activities; If they don’t have the money to continue their addiction, often, they will make up reasons for needing it from their family or friends. This behavior tends to alter family dynamics concerning strained relations.

Several factors go into addiction and a person’s propensity for it: length with which the drug is used, a person’s disposition to it, their stress response, and whether the dose is higher than prescribed. This is why addiction can develop rapidly and hence the drastic changes in behavior and body effects. It’s vital that family/friends recognize the following signs that a loved one is beginning an addiction. These signs include:

  • Behavior changes like anxiety to depression
  • Doctor shopping to get a new prescription of the medication
  • Getting painkillers online or stealing other people’s medication
  • leftover drugs, buying other people’s prescriptions or buying them off the street
  • Feeling angry if someone talks to them about their medication
  • Anger when a physician limits doses
  • Irritability at family or friends

Noticing these signs in yourself or a loved one indicates the need for a medically-supervised detoxification program.

Prescription Drug Types & Medications

For the last number of years, prescription drug addiction has exploded, particularly concerning opioids. Many drugs have habit-forming substances in them and physically change people’s brains. This has resulted in increased hospital visits and drug treatment cases. Synthetic opioids like Hydrocodone and Oxycodone make up many pain-relieving drugs. Brand names of the most abused painkillers include Lortab, Percocet, Vicodin, and Oxycontin. These drugs are either depressants or stimulants and grouped into the prescription type, medication type, and associated brand names.


  • Morphine (Roxinol, Duramorph)
  • Oxycodone (Percocet, Oxycodone, Roxicet, Percodan)
  • Codeine (Robitussin,
  • Tylenol 3, Soma, Colorex)
  • Fentanyl (Duragesic, Actiq)
  • Hydrocodone (Lorcet, Lortab, Vicodin)


  • Barbiturates (Luminal, Nembutal)
  • Benzodiazepines (Ativan, Valium, Xanax, Limbitrol)
  • Sleep Aid (Ambian, Lunesta)


  • Methylphenidate-based (Ritalin, Concerta)
  • Amphetamine-based (Adderall)

Explanation of Drug Types


This class of drugs is labeled as Codeine, Percocet, Percodan, Oxycontin, Morphine, and Vicodin. The job of these drugs is to block the brain’s pain perception; they do this by releasing dopamine, the feel-good hormone. This is why using these drugs enable someone to develop an addiction quickly. Note that using these drugs as your doctor prescribes won’t cause harm, but in high doses–even with one high dose–could result in respiratory failure or death. When combined with alcohol or other substances, the danger increases.

Central Nervous System Depressants

Known as tranquilizers or sedatives, this class of drugs affects the central nervous system by depressing or slowing down brain functioning. It affects people by eliciting a feeling of calm or drowsiness and is used to treat anxiety and panic attacks. Xanax, Librium, and Valium fall into the categories of barbiturates and benzodiazepines. When used long-term, these drugs can lead to dependency or addiction. Stopping the medication abruptly is dangerous and could result in hallucinations and seizures, so it’s imperative they are stopped gradually or under the supervision of a doctor in a medical facility.

Central Nervous System Depressants

Stimulants excite the nervous system. These classes of drugs cause people to become more alert and full of energy and are why college students use them when cramming for exams and finals. They are used for behavioral disorders, including OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) and ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder), as well as fatigue, tiredness, and depression. They allow people to feel happy or euphoric and craving more of the drug when they come down off them.

When taken, stimulants raise heart rate and blood pressure; but, taking the drug in higher doses may cause irregular heartbeats and heart failure in some cases. There are several withdrawal symptoms of stimulants that include nausea and vomiting, anxiety, sweating, trembling, irregular sleep patterns, such as insomnia, and fatigue, and depression.

To make a complete recovery and have a reduced risk of relapse, a person dealing with prescription drug addiction will need a professional rehab center. A caring and supportive staff will monitor patients to ensure their safety as they detox and overcome their addiction.

Drug Addiction Treatment

There are effective treatments for addiction, but the first step on the road to recovery is to recognize there is a problem. Sometimes, when a person denies they have a problem, families and concerned friends may stage an intervention for prompt treatment—particularly if the addicted person is harming themselves or others. It’s important to get a physician’s assessment and diagnosis, then a treatment plan can be formulated, whether that means outpatient rehab, inpatient, or at-home treatment.

Rehabilitation often includes medications used to control drug cravings and therapy that can help addicted individuals understand their motivations and behavior, develop better self-esteem, cope with anxiety and stress, and address other mental problems.

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